If marriage is no laughing matter, staying married for 25 years is serious business. It doesn’t happen overnight and it certainly doesn’t happen magically. One thing is for sure: it’s definitely possible.
We’ve compiled timeless tips from couples who have made it past the quarter mark and are well on their way to collecting more years.
Marriage has a bad rap for being limiting and restrictive, especially when kids enter the picture. However, this shouldn’t be the case. When you are married to the right partner, your best version should come out.
The work required for a lasting marriage starts before you sign your marriage contract. Don’t jump into a marriage without getting to know your partner. Can you see yourself with this person in the next 25, 50 years? You should answer this question with your partner’s strengths and weaknesses in mind.
Don’t feel guilty if you’re happily married but you don’t want kids. Just because your neighbor has seven kids doesn’t mean you should follow suit. You and your partner should be the only ones to decide what your family should be like.
Whirlwind romances and spontaneous courtships are the stuff fairytales are made of. But when marriage is on the table, it’s time to come back down to earth. Your individual choices, when you get hitched, must be also be made in consideration with your partner’s.
How will you work out your marriage if one of you gets stationed overseas for work? How many children would you like to have? If your partner’s elderly parents need close supervision, are you willing to make adjustments? These are the kinds of big-picture questions that should be ironed out before settling down.
Planning your life together is essential for a secure and healthy partnership, but you must accept that life can unexpectedly pull the rug under your feet. Allow room for contingency in your plans so that no one freaks out excessively when something doesn’t go your way.
Money issues ignite fights between couples. Honesty in spending habits and bank account status, especially when you share an account, will help you address money issues before they blow up in front of your face. This is one of the problems you need to face head-on.
Don’t expect perfection from your partner because you aren’t perfect yourself. Find a way to complement each other’s weaknesses and bring out each other’s strengths.
Can you imagine fighting for days over the brand of your dishwashing soap? There are just some things not worth destroying your marriage for. Let the small things go. As they say, sometimes we must lose battles in order to win the war.
Some battles are crucial. Don’t wait for ill feelings to faster before addressing brewing problems. If an unequal distribution of chores leaves one of you tired and resentful, it’s time to sit down and talk with your partner over a solution.
Fighting is inevitable in marriages, so learn to do it well. Attack the problem, not your partner.
Showing and admitting weaknesses to your partner is easier said than done. Pride results to defensive, regrettable actions that hurt our partners. Generous amounts of humility work wonders for a marriage that seems hopeless.
Humility doesn’t just apply to those you have done wrong to. It is also measured by the willingness to forgive those who have wronged you. Your imperfect partner is bound to hurt you at one point. Forgiveness doesn’t undo the wrongdoings of your partner, but it releases you from the emotional prison and allows you to figure out ways to move forward.
You are supposed to be your partner’s most trusted ally. It is only natural that your praise matters the most. Praising your partner’s big and small achievements will benefit the both of you.
This very simple piece of advice is often taken for granted. Warm, fuzzy feelings tend to disappear in trying times during the marriage. But when you program yourself to be kind and exercise maximum tolerance with your partner, it gets easier to remember what it is that you love about your partner when you started dating.
Don’t equate service for your spouse to slavery. Simply making each other’s needs a priority and trying to lighten each other’s burden will keep that relationship alive.
This sounds like a given in every marriage, but don’t we need to be reminded when the going gets tough? There is no textbook prescription on your threshold for marital trials, but dedicate patience and perseverance in your marriage.
Gary Chapman’s The 5 Love Languages identifies words of affirmation, quality time, receiving gifts, acts of service, and physical touch as the main love languages. Your partner may identify with one strongly, or with two almost equally. The possibilities are endless. By learning to identify and accept your partner’s love language/s, you can better understand him/her and minimize miscommunication. Get a good grasp of your own love language too and be transparent about this with your partner.
Selflessness is often glorified in marriage, but self-care is just as important. This extends beyond looks. Cultivate hobbies, passions, and relationships outside marriage. A lasting marriage is only possible with two happy, well-rounded individuals. You can’t pour from an empty cup, after all.
Whatever your partner is now is the sum of relationships and interactions with other – apart from you! Show care and concern for the important people in your partner’s life.
This should be a priority no matter how busy life gets. Check in with each other amidst mounting responsibilities.
No need to smother your partner with hugs and kisses in public view every second. But even the subtlest display of affection once in a while can do wonders for your relationship.
Protect your partner at all times, even from yourself. If you have marital issues that need a third person’s perspective, approach only a few trusted family, friends, or marriage counselor.
The world doesn’t spare anyone from problems so when one hits your marriage, learn to laugh it out. Sometimes, problems arise when you make things a bigger deal than they should be.
If you’re going to wait for the next birthday, anniversary, promotion, pregnancy, or any other big milestone, your marriage will probably dry up. Marriage is strengthened by the small, day-to-day victories - fixing the plumbing you couldn’t figure out for a few months, finally putting the baby to sleep all throughout the night uninterrupted – you name it. Celebrate these moments that bring out the best in your partnership.
Photo via Ella Celebration
Birthdays and anniversaries are more than just hallmark holidays. Take advantage of this day to look back at what you have gone through as a couple and what you can do more to improve. Every anniversary is a step towards the fulfillment of a lifetime partnership. Don’t take these celebrations for granted.